What’s the best Free-to-Play game? Almost assuredly, it’s the one that isn’t out yet. It’s that one that you’re looking forward to, that you’re watching trailers for, that you’re reading dev blogs about, that all your friends are in alpha/beta for and are telling you how cool it is…
This year is shaping up to be one of Free-to-Play gaming’s finest and we’ve done our best to sort through the long, long list of upcoming Free-to-Play games to give you what we think are the most hotly anticipated titles that you might get on your grubby little hard drives in 2014. Keep in mind these games have been more or less 100% confirmed for Open Beta release this year.
It was a tough selection process, and many deserving games, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgottenother games like Blade & Soul, Dungeon Defenders 2, Armored Warfare, and Kingdom UnderFire II. We’ll be updating often, wiping off games that launch while adding new upcoming ones.
Did your favorites make the list? If not, what else are you looking forward to in 2014?
Trion Worlds’ entry into the sandbox building field seems to have all the quirk and charm of Minecraft but with subtle improvements to graphics and gameplay. A more traditional RPG feel, with classes, abilities, quests, and dungeons, should help MMO fans feel more at home.
9. World of Warships
Wargaming’s trifecta will be complete once World of Warships sets sail. Players will command multiple ship types including destroyers, battleships, and carriers in a battle for naval supremacy. With Gaijin Entertainment’s War Thunder breathing down their necks, Wargaming is certain to pull out all the stops to make sure Warships is a hit.
8. Orcs Must Die! Unchained
Robot Entertainment’s F2P installment in the Orcs Must Die! series offers a blend of the previous games’ gore-splattered tower defense/action combat gameplay and PvP MOBA-style combat. A card-based system serving as a way to gain new items while providing you with your own
customizable source of invading Orcs will let you trick out your heroes and their diabolical deathtraps, allowing for a wide variety of play styles to suit any strategy.
7. World of Speed
Racing titles are still rare in the F2P space, so it’s great to see Slightly Mad Studios take the wheel. World of Speed offers all the customization options you’d expect, as well as a variety of play modes and maps located throughout the world. The game rewards group tactics, so it’s not just about who finishes first, but what team uses the best strategy to score an overall point victory.
Merging shooter mechanics with a musical rhythm game sounds crazy – crazy enough that it might just work. And who better to do it than Rock Band creator Harmonix, in tandem with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developer Hidden Path? At the very least, it’s a unique premise and we can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
5. Heroes of the Storm
Blizzard’s foray into the MOBA world looks to do for that genre what World of Warcraft did for MMOs and Hearthstone did for CCGs. Hardcore MOBA fans might turn their noses up at it, but it’s hard to argue with Blizzard’s track record, and a simpler, all-access MOBA that utilizes popular characters from one of the world’s leading developers could be huge.
Epic Games’ base-building/survival game takes the genre in a new direction by introducing classes and fixed-time campaigns in addition to standards like exploration, scavenging, and hordes of monsters looking to make a meal out of your brain. Procedurally generated worlds and an AI “director” who summons minions based on your defenses should help keep things fresh even after several games.
SOE’s zombie-survival game is the first entry into the genre by a AAA game developer. It’s still a developing field, and they’ve got as good a chance as anyone of taking over, especially with Free-to-Play as an incentive to draw players in. It’ll be interesting to see how they leverage their powerful Forgelight engine to carry this type of game to the masses, both on PC and (one would presume, being Sony and all) on the PlayStation 4.
Published by Trion Worlds in the West, XLGames’ ArcheAge has been the shining hope of sandbox RPG fans for years. Created by the same mind behind NCSoft’s Lineage titles, ArcheAge looks to have all the things that sandbox fans crave, including open-world PvP, a robust economy, housing, and more. It’s a “fantasy EVE” game that looks great and offers a ton of different ways to play.
Is it a primer for EverQuest Next (which didn’t make our list because we don’t think it’ll be available in 2014)? Is it a Minecraft-esque building simulation? Is it a full MMORPG? We’re still not quite sure, and Landmark’s in an early enough state that it could go in any of those directions.
One thing’s for sure, though: Even with relatively minimal gameplay elements, people are eating it up. From looming cathedrals to space western towns, the creativity of Landmark players is astounding. Imagine what they’ll come up with once there’s an actual game. The potentials seem almost limitless and with the upcoming addition of naturally occurring cave systems along with running water, Landmark seems on track to hit all of its high notes. Even without the EverQuest name attached to it, Landmark is already on track to hit all of its high notes, and it’s still just getting started.